Rance Howard

Rance Howard

Birth name: Harold Rance Beckenholdt
Born: November 17, 1928
Died: November 25, 2017 (at age 89)
Birthplace: Duncan, Oklahoma, U.S.

Rance Howard (born Harold Rance Beckenholdt; November 17, 1928 - November 25, 2017) was an American actor who starred in film and on television. He was the father of actor and filmmaker Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, and grandfather of the actresses Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard.

Howard appeared in many notable films such as Cool Hand Luke (1967), Chinatown (1974), Splash (1984), Ed Wood (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Independence Day (1996), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Cinderella Man (2005), Frost/Nixon (2008), Nebraska (2013), and Max Rose (2016). For co-produced the television film The Time Crystal (1981), he received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.

Howard was born Harold Rance Beckenholdt in Duncan, Oklahoma, the son of Ethel Cleo (née Tomlin) and Engel Beckenholdt, a farmer.[1] He changed his name to "Rance Howard" when he became an actor.[2] Howard studied at the University of Oklahoma.[1]


His professional acting career began in 1948 when he went to New York City, auditioned and landed a job in a children's touring company.[1] The role that got him noticed nationally for television and film was playing the part of Lindstrom in the touring company of the play Mister Roberts with Henry Fonda in 1950, portraying the character for about a year-and-a-half in major cities across the U.S.[3]

Both Rance and elder son Ron, who was two at the time, made their feature film debuts together in the 1956 western Frontier Woman.[4] Later in the 1950s, Rance's roles included his TV debut in the series Kraft Theatre, on which he appeared three times in 1956-57.[5]

After son Ron went on to play Opie in The Andy Griffith Show in the early 1960s, Rance had guest parts in five episodes of the show.[6] Howard was known best for his role on television in 25 episodes of the 1960s TV series Gentle Ben starring his younger son, Clint. Howard played Henry Boomhauer, a backwoodsman who befriended the family.[4] Another well-known TV role was on Babylon 5, in which he had a recurring role as David Sheridan, the father of Babylon 5 captain John Sheridan.[7] He also starred in the short-lived 2000 TV series Driving Me Crazy.[5] His television guest appearances include Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Kung Fu, The Waltons, CBS Schoolbreak Special 1986 episode "The Drug Knot", Angel, 7th Heaven, Cold Case, That's So Raven, and two appearances on Seinfeld (as different characters).[5][6] On The Waltons, Howard portrayed Dr. McIver in five different episodes, one of which included Ron.[6]

Howard appeared in over 100 films, including the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke, The Music Man (in an uncredited bit part playing "Oscar Jackson"), and many other films.[5] Howard acted in many of his son Ron's films including Splash, Cocoon, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man and Frost/Nixon.[1][4] He also appeared as Dottie and Kit's father in A League of Their Own.[4] In 2013, he played Woody Grant's brother in Nebraska.[7] He often took parts as a priest or minister, county sheriff, or western marshal, and made numerous appearances in films by Joe Dante.[1]

His final film role, completed in September 2017, is also the largest in his career. He plays the role of Carl Robbins in Michael Worth's 2018 road trip drama,[8] playing on film for the first time the father of his real life son Clint Howard.[9]

Personal life

Howard married actress Jean Speegle Howard in Burbank, California, in 1949. They remained married until her death, in September 2000.[10] Their sons are actor and filmmaker Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard.[7] He was also the grandfather of actresses Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard.[7] His son Ron was born while he served three years in the United States Air Force.[11][12]

In 2001, Howard married Judy Howard, a year after his first wife's death.[9] Judy Howard died in January 2017 in Burbank, ten months before Rance's death.[13]


Howard died on the morning of November 25, 2017, in Los Angeles, California, eight days after his 89th birthday, from heart failure spurred on by a West Nile virus infection.[9][14][15]


  • Sources:[4][16][17][18]


Year Film Role Notes
1956 Frontier Woman Prewitt
1962 The Music Man Oscar Jackson Uncredited
1963 The Courtship of Eddie's Father Camp Counselor Uncredited
1965 Village of the Giants Deputy
1965 The Desert Raven Reggie
1966 An Eye for an Eye Harry
1967 Gentle Giant Tater Coughlin
1967 Cool Hand Luke Sheriff Uncredited
1969 Old Paint Cowboy Short film
1970 The Wild Country Cleve Uncredited
1972 Bloody Trail Jake
1973 Salty Unknown character
1974 Where the Lilies Bloom Roy Luther
1974 Chinatown Irate Farmer
1976 Eat My Dust! Clark
1977 The Legend of Frank Woods Howard Blacker
1977 Grand Theft Auto Ned Slinker Directed by son Ron
1977 Another Man, Another Chance Wagonmaster
1978 The Amazing Mr. No Legs Lou's Sidekick
1978 Cotton Candy Mr. Bremmercamp Directed by son Ron
1979 Mr. No Legs Mr. No Legs' sidekick
1981 Smokey Bites the Dust Coach
1983 Love Letters Joseph Chesley
1983 Forever and Beyond Technician
1984 The Lonely Guy Minister
1984 Splash McCollough Directed by son Ron
1985 Cocoon St. Petersburg Detective Directed by son Ron
1985 Creator Mr. Spencer
1985 The Long Hot Summer Wilk TV Movie
1986 Gung Ho Mayor Conrad Zwart Directed by son Ron
1986 Return To Mayberry Preacher Made for TV Movie
1987 Innerspace Supermarket Customer
1988 Dark Before Dawn Logan
1988 Merchants of Death Robert Morrison
1989 Trust Me Vern
1989 The 'Burbs Detective #2
1989 Listen to Me Tucker's Father
1989 Parenthood Dean at College Directed by son Ron
1989 Limit Up Chuck Feeney
1991 9 1/2 Ninjas! Ninja Negotiator
1992 I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore Elderly Man
1992 Far and Away Tomlin Directed by son Ron
1992 Universal Soldier John Devreux
1992 Wishman Det. Sturgis
1992 Ticks Sheriff Parker
1993 Fearless Bald Cabby
1993 Ed and His Dead Mother Rev. Praxton
1993 Snapdragon Priest
1994 Forced to Kill Rance
1994 The Paper Alicia's Doctor Directed by son Ron
1994 The Cowboy Way Old Gentleman
1994 Terminal Velocity Chuck (pilot)
1994 Ed Wood Old Man McCoy
1994 Little Giants Priest
1994 Bigfoot: The Unforgettable Encounter Todd Brandell
1995 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest Eddie Calhoun
1995 Savate Farmer
1995 Apollo 13 Reverend Directed by son Ron
1996 Sgt. Bilko Mr. Robbins
1996 Tiger Heart Mr. Johnson
1996 Where Truth Lies Judge Bloom
1996 Independence Day Chaplain
1996 Mars Attacks! Texan Investor
1996 Ghosts of Mississippi Ralph Hargrove
1997 Busted Mayor Davies
1997 Traveller Farmer
1997 Money Talks Reverend
1997 The Lay of the Land Dr. Brown
1997 Sparkle and Charm Mr. Houghton
1998 The Sender Max
1998 Chairman of the Board Rev. Hatley
1998 Land of the Free Hotel Manager
1998 Small Soldiers Husband
1998 The Night Caller Hank
1998 Evasive Action Train Engineer Uncredited
1998 Psycho Mr. Lowery
1999 Happy, Texas Ely
1999 Malevolence Dr. Burns
1999 Abilene Arliss
2000 Love & Sex Earl
2000 Ping! Old Man
2000 Big Wind on Campus Grandpa Morton
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Elderly Timekeeper Directed by son Ron
2001 Joe Dirt Bomb Squad Cop
2001 A Crack in the Floor Floyd Fryed
2001 Rat Race Feed the Earth Spokesman
2001 A Beautiful Mind White-Haired Patient Directed by son Ron
2002 D-Tox Geezer
2002 Legend of the Phantom Rider Doc Fisher
2002 Jumping for Joy
2002 Leaving the Land Uncle Solomon
2003 The Long Ride Home Old man
2003 Ghost Rock Cash
2003 The Missing Telegraph Operator Directed by son Ron
2004 Death and Texas Circuit Court Judge
2004 Toolbox Murders Chas Rooker
2004 The Alamo Governor Smith
2004 Eulogy Lance Sommers
2004 Back by Midnight Priest
2005 Cinderella Man Announcer Al Fazin Directed by son Ron
2005 Killing Cupid Zeke
2005 Miracle at Sage Creek Doctor Babcock
2006 Aimee Semple McPherson James Kennedy
2006 Sasquatch Mountain Harris Zeff
2007 Georgia Rule Dog Bite Man
2007 Be My Baby Zippy the Messenger
2007 Ghost Town Sheriff Tom Parker
2007 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Preacher
2008 Grizzly Park Ranger Howard
2008 Drillbit Taylor Older Man
2008 Keith Old Man Uncredited
2008 Audie & the Wolf Dr. Maleosis
2008 Frost/Nixon Ollie Directed by son Ron
2009 Play the Game Mervin Lavine
2009 Angels & Demons Cardinal Beck Directed by son Ron
2009 Within Deli Owner
2009 Boppin' at the Glue Factory Walker Bill
2010 Valentine's Day Bistro Gardens Diner
2010 Bloodworth Ira
2010 Yohan: The Child Wanderer Old Knut
2010 Once Fallen Harry
2010 Jonah Hex Telegrapher
2010 The Genesis Code Dr. Tolley
2010 The Trial Judge Danielson
2011 The Dilemma Burt Directed by son Ron
2011 Night Club Chuck
2011 InSight Cemetery Presider
2011 Spooky Buddies Mr. Joseph Johnson
2011 Rosewood Lane Fred Crumb
2011 Redemption: For Robbing the Dead Doctor
2011 Let Go Dimples
2012 Easy Rider: The Ride Back Andrew Jackson Bennett
2013 Nebraska Uncle Ray
2013 The Lone Ranger Engineer
2013 Richard Rossi 5th Anniversary of Sister Aimee James Kennedy
2013 Gone Dark Charles
2015 Junction The Clerk
2016 Max Rose Walter Prewitt
2016 40 Nights Devil as an Old Man
2016 Kalebegiak José Mari
2017 Chasing the Star Devil as an Old Man
2017 Broken Memories Jasper


Year Title Role Notes
1956-1957 Kraft Television Theatre Various 3 episodes
1958 How to Marry a Millionaire Corporal 1 episode
1959 Bat Masterson Fletcher 1 episode
1962-1964 The Andy Griffith Show Various 5 episodes [6]
1966 That Girl Customer #2 1 episode
1966 The Virginian Luka 1 episode
1967 The Monroes Al 1 episode
1967-1969 Gentle Ben Henry Boomhauer 13 episodes
1970 Then Came Bronson Mr. Carl Mueller 1 episode
1971 Night Gallery Cameraman 1 episode
1971-1972 Bonanza Sam / Bogardus 2 episodes
1968 The F.B.I. Ranger 1 episode
1969 Kung Fu Sheriff Byrd 1 episode
1973-1975 The Waltons Dr. McIvers 5 episodes
1974 Gunsmoke Frank Benton 1 episode
1976-1979 Happy Days Announcer / Ben Wilson / Mr. Burkhart 3 episodes
1977 Little House on the Prairie Simpson 1 episode
1978 Battlestar Galactica Farnes 1 episode
1979 Laverne & Shirley Doctor 1 episode
1981 Mork & Mindy Guard 1 episode
1983 The Thorn Birds Doctor Miniseries
1984 Dynasty Gifford 1 episode
1984 Murder, She Wrote Fillmore 1 episode
1986 A Smoky Mountain Christmas Doctor
1989-1992 Baywatch Fireman / Joe 2 episodes
1989 B.L. Stryker Richard Walton 1 episode
1991 Quantum Leap Ring Doctor 1 episode
1993 Coach Herman Van Dam 1 episode
1993-1996 Seinfeld Blind Man / Farmer 2 episodes
1994 Diagnosis Murder Driver 1 episode
1995 Problem Child 3 The Janitor Television film
1996-1997 Babylon 5 David Sheridan 3 episodes
1996-1997 Married... with Children Edwin / Reverend 2 episodes
1996 Melrose Place Motel Manager 1 episode
1998 Clueless Mr. Bell 2 episodes
1998 Two of a Kind Mr. Fillmore 2 episodes
1999 Just Shoot Me! Blind Flower Guy 1 episode
2000 7th Heaven Old Man in Park 1 episode
2001 Angel Marcus Roscoe / Angel 1 episode
2004 Cold Case Buddie 1 episode
2004 That's So Raven Murphy 1 episode
2005 Ghost Whisperer Dirk Abrams 1 episode
2006 CSI: NY Samuel Cooper 1 episode
2009 ER Dr. Oliver Kostin 1 episode
2009 Lie to Me Joe Metz 1 episode
2011 Workaholics Jerry 1 episode
2012 Grey's Anatomy Martin Carroll 1 episode
2013 NCIS: Los Angeles Eugene 1 episode
2014 Bones Jerold Norsky 2 episodes
2014 Kroll Show Dr. Stanley Armond 1 episode
2014 Review Willie 1 episode
2016 The X-Files Old Man 1 episode
2018 Arrested Development Rance Howard 1 episode; Posthumous release

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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